Man arrested for pulling fire alarm at hotel in North Strabane

August 20, 2014

A Fayette County man taken by South Strabane Township police to his hotel Tuesday night after they listened to his alleged rants about the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., was arrested by North Strabane Township police after he reportedly pulled the fire alarm in his room.

Raymond E. Jenkins Jr., 21, of Uniontown, spent the night in a holding cell at Washington County jail awaiting arraignment before District Judge Larry Hopkins on charges of tampering with fire equipment, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. Jenkins, who also was charged by South Strabane police with public drunkenness, was released on his own recognizance Wednesday morning.

South Strabane police were called about 10:20 p.m. to Fusion Steakhouse, Trinity Point, for a report of a disturbance. Jenkins was outside and appeared intoxicated, police said.

Police said Jenkins began ranting about the situation in Ferguson. When police asked him for identification, he asked the officer if he was going to shoot him. When Jenkins was again asked for identification, he reportedly aggressively approached Officer Aaron Vanatta until stopped by other officers who were assisting. Jenkins again asked if police were going to shoot him.

After checking with restaurant staff, police learned Jenkins reportedly caused problems and pushed a waitress, who did not wish to pursue charges.

Police took him to the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel on Racetrack Road, where he was staying and handed him a citation for public drunkenness. He promptly crumpled the citation. After he was taken to his room, Jenkins allegedly pulled the alarm and North Strabane police were called.

North Strabane fire Chief Mark Grimm said that was the second call for his department to the hotel Tuesday. Firefighters responded about 5:30 p.m. when a belt on a fourth-floor air conditioning unit caught fire, sending a small amount of smoke into the hotel.

Jenkins is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on the North Strabane charges before District Judge Jay Weller Aug. 29.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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